Instagram is a fun and quirky way to share your life – or your nonprofit organisation’s ‘life’ – with friends and followers through a series of pictures. Instagram is currently ranked as the seventh most popular social channel, with an estimated 100 million active users a month (*August 2015 statistics).
In addition to individuals, Instagram has been embraced by many brands, from nonprofit organisations and small businesses to popular celebrities and Fortune 500 companies. Many everyday users have found it to be a great platform, gathering thousands of followers, even though their Twitter accounts and Facebook Pages may not reflect the same numbers. In fact, some Instagramers don't have any other social platforms, yet their huge Instagram fan base makes them quite influential in their circles.
Want to get your nonprofit organisation started on Instagram? Follow these basic tips:
1. Keep your social platforms consistent and integrated.
Make sure that you use the same handle for both Twitter and Instagram, as these two platforms go well together. If someone refers to you on Instagram and shares the comment on Twitter, your accounts will be tagged correctly on both platforms.
Since Twitter started showing images in its stream, you might choose to turn off the Instagram to Twitter connection and use a service like IFTT instead to share your Instagram photos to your Twitter account. This IFTT recipe is one of the best ways to integrate the two accounts.
And, of course, make sure that you fully fill out your avatar, bio and links so people know who you are and what your organisation is about.
2. Have a strategy on the types of images you will share.
You always want to share the best content possible, whether it’s text, images or video. As a brand, you need to ask yourself how you want to be represented on Instagram. The more interesting the content, the more engaging it will be for your followers. Find out what your audience wants to see from you.
Depending on the focus, nonprofit organisations share different types of photos. Some of the most common images include photos from events that they organise and attend, inspirational images and quotes, behind-the-scenes snapshots of their operations, and reports on donations and fundraisers.
Whatever you decide, make sure that your strategy remains consistent with the story that your organisation wishes to share.
3. Be engaging!
There are three things you need to do on Instagram in order to increase engagement:
- Include good descriptions with your photos.
Yes, the photos should speak for themselves, but adding a description can add context and value. A few simple words may do for some images, while others might require a couple of sentences. Just make sure that your words help tell your organisation's story along with the image that you've shared.
- Use relevant hashtags.
Hashtags are definitely the best way to connect on Instagram. Use appropriate and targeted hashtags that are relevant to your organisation and photo, rather than general ones. Don't put too many or you might be seen as spamming. Hashtags may be used in descriptions and/or in the comments section of the photo.
- Comment and/or Like photos of other Instagram users.
Comment on and like other users' photos that resonate with your nonprofit's story. This is a great way to connect and show other users what your brand is all about. You might also gain new followers if they also like what you share.